Affordable electric cars are still few, but they are there. Models that are small in size (and range) but capable of covering non-exclusively urban journeys. One example is the Dacia Spring, the cheapest electric car on the market in Europe, but unfortunately not available in the UK until 2024. Now it has a new competitor: the Citroën C3. Or rather, the Citroën ë-C3, where the vowel indicates the battery-powered nature of the model.
A completely new generation for the small French car, based on a platform that can also accommodate classic combustion units. The most interesting thing, however, is the price: €23,800. While waiting to drive it, we compare it with the Dacia Spring for a head-to-head comparison between the lowest priced electric cars on the market.
Both the Citroën C3 and the Dacia Spring were born primarily for the city and their dimensions are correct: the French car measures just over 4 metres (4.01), while the Romanian car makes do with 3.73 metres. Both have a slightly elevated stance, because crossovers appeal to (almost) everyone.
The shapes are very different: the C3 opts for a modern design with a decidedly distinctive front end. The body follows function, so the roof is parallel to the ground while the rear is almost vertical to maximise interior volumes.
Dacia Spring Extreme
The same is true of the Spring, whose front end is less elaborate but still features LED lights. The lines are even cleaner and the classic black plastic bumpers are thicker and more visible than on the French model.
Like the exterior, the interiors of the Citroën C3 2023 and the Dacia Spring are similar but different. Both are straight to the point and don't play with weird effects (both impressive and expensive), although they don't lack for anything.
The Citroën C3 2023, in the base trim, dispenses with the infotainment system's touchscreen and instead installs a smartphone holder which, thanks to a dedicated application, becomes the control centre for the various multimedia functions. In the Max trim, on the other hand, the infotainment system has a 10-inch colour screen. Space is good and the boot, at 310 litres, can carry more than just a rucksack.
Citroen C3, el interior
Dacia Spring Extreme, el interior
The Dacia Spring retains the décor of the brand's previous models, with a 7" touchscreen positioned low down, lots of hard plastic and classic analogue instrumentation. The extra centimetres do affect the comfort of rear passengers, but not so much the load capacity, which is 270 litres.
|Model||Infotainment screen||Luggage compartment capacity (min/max)|
Engines and technology
Both the Citroën C3 and the Dacia Spring are electric-only, although the French car (thanks to its platform) can (and will in the future) also accommodate internal combustion engines. But here we focus on the battery versions.
The C3 is powered by an 111 bhp (83 kW) motor powered by a 44 kWh LFP (lithium) battery, for a declared range of 320 kilometres (199 miles). A 200 km (124 mi) version will also be available in 2025, but specifications are not yet known. Maximum DC charging power is 100 kW. In terms of technology, it features automatic emergency braking, cruise control, lane departure warning, rear-view camera, wireless smartphone charger and speed limit recognition.
The Dacia Spring, meanwhile, is available with two different powertrains: 44 bhp (33 kW) with 27.4 kWh batteries for 230 km (143 mi) of range or 64 bhp (48 kW) for the Extreme, which has the same batteries and just over 200 km (124 mi) of range. DC charging is up to a maximum of 30 kW. More modest technology offerings include a rear camera and sensors, emergency braking and satellite navigation.
Citroen e-C3, la trasera
Dacia Spring Extreme, la trasera
|Model||Engine||Battery||Range WLTP||Max. recharge power|
|Citroen ë-C3||111 bhp (83 kW)||44 kWh||320 km (199 mi)||100 kW DC|
|Dacia Spring||44 bhp (33 kW) |
64 bhp (48 kW)
|27.4 kWh||230 km (143 mi) |
220 km (137 mi)
|30 kW DC|
And here we come to the crux of the matter: the prices of the new Citroën C3 2023 and Dacia Spring.
The ë-C3 starts at €23,800 for the You trim, with standard LED headlights, 17-inch steel wheels, Citroën Advanced Comfort suspension, automatic emergency braking, rear parking sensors and manual climate control. The Max version, meanwhile, starts at €28,300 and adds 10.25-inch monitors, 17-inch alloy wheels, two-tone bodywork, roof rails, LED tail lights, Citroën Advanced Comfort seats, rear camera and much more.
The Dacia Spring is confirmed as the cheapest electric car in Spain with a starting price set at €19,990 for the 44 bhp Essential, the 64 bhp Extreme starts at €21,640. As standard, the base model offers 14" steel wheels, manual climate control and emergency braking. The Extreme adds rear parking sensors and camera, 7-inch touchscreen monitor, satellite navigation and electric rear windows and starts at €21,640.
|Citroen ë-C3 You||€23,800|
|Citroen ë-C3 Max||€28,300|
|Dacia Spring Essential||€19,990|
|Dacia Spring Extreme||€21,640|